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  • Writer's pictureTara Murphy

5 Money Lessons I Would Tell to My 20-Year-Old Self

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

This week on the blog...

1. Quality over Quantity

Especially when it comes to shopping. My young self would buy as MUCH as I could with my $500 at the mall. My thirty-something self now buys quality instead of quantity. I buy classics, basics, things I can wear and carry all year round.

My first computer was a Dell. No. Why? I ended up buying a MacBook in second year university anyway, so why didn’t I start with the good stuff, the QUALITY first. In the end, the quality cost, pays you back, and you end up wasting less money on garbage.

2. Don’t miss out on the trip of a lifetime.

This honestly isn’t something I had trouble with, but I would tell my 20 year old self to keep at it. Travel. Live. Explore. As you get older, it gets harder. I backpacked Australia, Southeast Asia, Central America, Europe. I did the damn thing, and I would tell every 20 something out there to do it, too. LIVE, kiddos, LIVE.

The thing I would remind my 20 year old self though, is haggle everything. Look at your options. Stop booking flights with a travel agent. Stop overpaying. Travel smarter, when it comes to money management.

3. Start investing riskier, earlier.

I dabbled in my first investment at 19 years old with my student loans. I’m sure many of you have heard this story. I used the profits, and returns to travel. So that worked out great for me. BUT, I would tell my 20 year old self that bonds were not the way to go. Bonds are for our elders, our parents, our grandparents.

I would tell myself to get more risky. Teslas. Amazons. Tech. Thats where I would’ve thrown my money. FOWARD THINKING, NOT SAFE. We have all the time in the world in our twenties to wait it out, so I would definitely have gone higher risk.

4. Read more books.

I would tell young Tara to get reading. I did all that work in University, and to be honest, I have learned way more since, through reading. Through studying stories, and strategies. I would skip the greys anatomy marathons (who needs to watch it 47 times), and I would encourage myself to read more. Books really do provide much more meaningful impact on your life, your career, than movies or TV does.

5. Seek out good mentors and role models

I was lucky to stumble upon my mentor at about 25 years old. I didn’t start working with him though until my late 20’s. If I had known what I knew today, I would’ve soaked in as much as I could as early as I could. I would’ve been years ahead of the game now, if I committed to learning from him earlier on. I would also tell myself, don’t be afraid to ask your role models questions, to put yourself in contact with them, show up, be eager. You never know what opportunities come by being open to these things!

6. Bigger is not always better

When it comes to my career, I wanted that big corner office at that big firm. Deloitte, KPMG, one of the big banks. That road would’ve been amazing, but now, working with a small team, I get to curate my life my and my job to whatever I want it to be. There is more room for flexibility, living 6 months aboard, etc., because there are not set “processes” in place.

The bigger banks can’t allow certain things, because then “everyone will do it”. But on a smaller team, I can work through my hopes, wishes, and dreams, while still doing my job. So I have learned, bigger, is not always better. For now, at least! For me, at least!

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